Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lean the Language of Kindness

Learn a new language. Or become more fluent in your less dominant language if you are already bilingual. The more people you can communicate with, the more valuable you are to working opportunities as well as opening yourself up to new people and cultures.  A friend of mine recently took a volunteer vacation where he taught English to orphans and abandoned children in Cambodia. He said he enjoyed every minute and wants to do this every year, as he loved working with the kids. As he told me this story, his smile was at least a mile wide!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Think With Your Heart

Shortly after retirement, this very thoughtful Seattleite, Leon Delong, wanted to utilize his new spare time and decided to do something meaningful. When he heard that city office towers were routinely throwing away half-used rolls of “tp,” he started gathering them and delivering them to a local food bank, where they were given to the homeless and those in financial need. Over the last 15 years, the 76-year old gave the poor over ONE million rolls of toilet paper. “I’m amazed how much this mattered to people,” Delong said. “To me it was just a nice thing to do. Now, it’s my claim to fame.” 

What is YOUR claim to fame?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

No Strings Attached

Write down the things that someone has given you, no strings attached, for which you are grateful. It can be an old sofa, some sound advice, or a lift to the airport. Now list ten things that you would like to give someone yourself, and see how many of those things you can cross off in a week.

Drive a friend to the airport
Carry groceries for the mom with two toddlers to their car
Baby-sit for a relative
Buy a friend a cup of coffee
Weed your busy neighbor's yard
Take out the garbage for the 95 year-old next door
Check in on a widow(er) who doubtless feels alone on the holidays
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Take the book you just read and loved to a retirement home and donate it
Even better, offer to read your beloved book to someone there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cleaning up the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

I don’t know about you but photos of the big patch of plastic and garbage floating in the ocean scares me more than almost anything else. Nearly 90% of plastic bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. If you are used to toting around your green tea, juice or iced coffee in plastic, get a cool-looking thermos instead. This is a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. You can guzzle as much as you want and still be “green.”

Global warming isn’t the only environmental nightmare that scientists are struggling to solve.
Millions of tons of plastic waste litter the world’s oceans, converging together in rotating currents called gyres and blanketing the water’s surface. On average, these gyres now hold six times more plastic than plankton by dry weight.
Fortunately, 19-year-old Boyan Slat, founder and president of The Ocean Cleanup, claims to “have invented a method to clean up almost half of the great Pacific’s garbage patch in just 10 years, using currents to [his] advantage.”
The self-described environmentalist and entrepreneur first presented his revolutionary ideas at a TEDx Talk in the Netherlands and was recently named one of Intel’s 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50).
Slat first became aware of the problem while diving in Greece, frustrated that he was “coming across more plastic bags than fish.”
He asked himself, “Why can’t we clean this up?”
At least one million birds and another 100,000 marine mammals die each year from the plastic, and a number of species risk extinction due to the massive amounts of plastic circulating the oceans.
Economically, marine debris costs an estimated $1.27 billion annually in fishing and vessel damage on America’s Pacific coastal waters

Friday, June 3, 2016

200 Squares a day

Do you know how much an elephant needs to eat per day? At least 200 pounds of chow! Spring for $30 bucks and you can feed a “retired” elephant all day long. Many of the denizens of Tennessee elephant sanctuary are former showgirls who left the three rings circus behind. Check out www.elephants.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Help those TO help themselves

We all remember the Biblical parable about teaching a man to fish so he can provide for himself and his family. Two thousand years later, we can do exactly this. My dad taught me how to fish in a pond back home on the farm in West Virginia and, even as a 7 year-old, I could not help but notice that we not only got a couple day’s worth of yummy trout for our efforts but my papa, a former Marine with many battle scars to show for it, seemed so relaxed after an afternoon at the pond. You can gift in a loved one’s name a $49 fishing kit or up to $100 for a daily goat to Action against Hunger (www, ActionAgainstHunger.org), which feeds over 7 million, people each year. Go fish!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Practice Random Acts of Kindness (and deliberate ones, too)

Random Acts of Kindness Day is always the week of Valentine’s Day. I always love to hear how this meaningful movement has touched other’s lives. Artist author Peg Conley shares this: You’ve seen those bumper stickers, the ones encouraging you to commit “random acts of kindness?” What they can’t tell you in that little space is how performing those acts can be a way of transforming yourself. When you begin to focus on extending kindness toward others, you’ll feel more kindness coming toward you. Not only will you make someone else’s day better, you’ll be surprised at how well yours improves. It’s rather like the “secret Santa” gift exchange that many offices and families adopt during the weeks leading up to Christmas. There is delight when you do something for another while keeping your identity a secret. When you watch a person receiving a surprise gift, you see their face change, the eyes open wide with delight, a smile bursting into a grin, and laughter erupting. They appear to feel sheer joy at the unexpected. The old adage is true: “It is in giving that we receive.” The other part of the quote, which is by a San Francisco writer named Anne Herbert, is often left out: “and [practice] senseless acts of beauty.” I received a text the other day from a friend who had taken a picture with her phone of a sidewalk outside the coffee shop where she works in San Francisco. Someone had written “It’s a beautiful day” with colored chalk on the sidewalk and adorned it with butterflies and hearts. That, to me, is a senseless act of beauty. Think how many people walked on the sidewalk that day and smiled at the childish scrawl reminding them of the beautiful day.

The Hebrew word mitzvah means a good deed or an act of kindness. Judaism teaches that the world is built on kindness. I recall what my Bubbe, a dear friend in Salt Lake City who was my son’s first caregiver, used to tell me about the importance of doing mitzvah s. She believes in the power of doing something good for another person but not telling them about it. She is a perfect example of someone who practices random acts of kindness, and also one who sees and acknowledges the beauty in everyone she meets. I always feel better just by being in her presence. Entire campaigns focused on practicing random acts of kindness have sprouted up. This, along with “having an attitude of gratitude,” enriches my days in many ways. There are myriad ways you can practice random acts of kindness. Don’t forget to include yourself when you are doing them!

• Pick up trash you see on the street and make the world a better place.
 • Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
• Buy a cookie for a coworker and leave it on their desk.
 • Hold the door open for someone.
• Smile at a stranger.

• Send a thank-you note through the mail.